After a promising start to a young career, the former sixth overall pick of the 2005 NBA draft battled health issues and production struggles in three of his last four seasons. Webster saw a steady increase in production in his first three seasons and many thought he was destined to become a breakout NBA player.
Two back surgeries and two teams later, that season seemed to be a distant memory. Webster thinks differently. “This is the best I’ve felt in five years, so, for me, it really feels like a coming out season,” Webster said. “I’m going to get a legitimate chance and a real opportunity, and I want to make the most of it. This is a real legitimate chance for me to show what I am capable of doing.”
Webster says this newfound health has helped to gain back some of the same skills he had when he first got into the league. “My explosiveness, my athleticism, I feel it’s back, and that’s important,” he said. “Being comfortable with your body on the court allows you to do things you didn’t know you were capable of doing.”
Being no stranger to the injury bug himself, Webster is helping the recently injured point guard John Wall in his rehab workout regiment. “I just want to show I’m in his corner and help him get through it,” he said.
Webster has focused on improving facets of his game that many of his critics have hounded him for. He said he’s been working on his ball handling so he can improve his ability to create his own shot and shoot off the dribble. He says he senses that he has gotten better at all facets of his game.
Webster is one of the many new veteran additions to this young Wizards squad. He said he explored interest from the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, and the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the offer from the Wizards sort of came out of nowhere.
“It was a last minute thing. I was training in Florida and my agent called me and asked what I thought about D.C., so I got on a flight the next day and found myself working out for them,” Webster said.
The workout went well and things progressed quickly for Webster, resulting in his signing with the Wizards on a contract worth $1.6 million.
Webster said he and his family decided on the Wizards because of how friendly the people were and how much the Wizards showed they wanted him. “The most important thing about being on a team is that they really want you here,” he said.
Newly acquired Martell Webster, who will play guard/forward for the Wizards, pose for photos during the Wizards' Media Day at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Monday, October 1, 2012. DC Sports Box
“They were really excited about bringing me here. It made the decision easy.”
Another thing that drew Webster to Washington was the character he saw in them last year. A team that had virtually nothing to play for at the end of last year won eight of its last 10 games and that kind of character did not go unnoticed by Webster.
With Webster’s past injury troubles he may seem like a long shot to get substantial playing time this season, but he understands that and is willing to play any role necessary. “I’m just going to go and compete. We have a lot of depth at every position, so (when training camp starts) we’ll be going at it,” Webster added.
“I’m not going to sit here and put my name on anything. Nothing is given here. (I) have to go out and earn it,” Webster said.
While he knows the potential for a breakout season is there Webster is focused on the team winning and said he only has one personal goal in mind. “My only personal goal every year is to be better than I was the year before.”